On Wednesday 7 August, the South African Police Department (SAPS) combined forces with other law enforcement agencies and the City of Johannesburg (CoJ) and swarmed the CBD as part of the Johannesburg raids operation.
The intelligence-led operation comprised of the Provincial Traffic Police and Saturation Unit, the Immigration Officers (Home Affairs), SARS Customs, the Joburg Metro Police Department, and clothing brand owners.
Items seized during the Johannesburg Raids
The preliminary report, released today, shows that firearms, stolen vehicles, and counterfeit goods were recovered from the Johannesburg CBD. In addition, 12 buildings were raided and 100 shops cleared.
The report also states that 46 vehicles – including panel vans – loaded with counterfeit goods were impounded.
Large consignments of counterfeit goods including clothing and sneakers were found in various buildings in Johannesburg CBD.
Authorities say that the confiscated goods will be disposed of.
Suspects and corrupt officials arrested
The counterfeit goods seized is worth about R250m, and 560 suspects were taken into the custody.
Furthermore, seven law enforcement officials were arrested for trying to resell the counterfeit goods.
In the separate incident, two members from the Tactical Response Team were arrested after police investigated a possible leak of information about the planned operation in the Johannesburg CBD.
The suspects were linked through investigation and on an eye witness account. Police have reason to believe that loot found in the 46 vehicles was the cargo which was removed the night before after the illegal traders had received a tip-off.
Unmarked weapons recovered
Unmarked assault weapons were recovered from a building on Rahima Moosa and Delvers Street.
While authorities are still to determine who owns the firearms, they could confirm that a suspect was arrested for possession of unlicenced firearms and ammunition.
The firearms will be subjected to ballistic testing to determine possible usage in the commission of crime. Operations are set to continue.
The cache of weapons include six rifles, six pistols, four shotguns and hundreds of ammunition of varying calibres.
Intelligence-led operations set to continue Johannesburg raids
Gauteng Provincial Commissioner of Police, Lieutenant General Elias Mawela said:
“We certainly hope that the arrest of seven of our own will prove to the people of Gauteng that we are serious about eradicating crime, even if it means arresting our own. No one is above the law.”
Police Minister, General Bheki Cele visited the operations in the CBD and said in support of the operation, saying his team will remain “will continue to stamp the authority of the State.”
Gauteng Premier David Makhura also welcomed the arrest of criminals who trade in counterfeit goods. The Premier said:
“As South Africans, we must work collectively to build our economy and create much-needed jobs. We need to make a significant dent in the illegal trade of counterfeit goods as they pose an economic risk against our efforts as a country.”
Following the raid, Johannesburg Executive Mayor Herman Mashaba shared video footage taken of the counterfeit goods. He captioned it: “How did we get here? This is a very important question every South African has to ask.”